One of the most competitive races for Horse of the Year honors in recent memory will conclude tonight, Monday, Jan. 18, with announcement of whether it is Rachel Alexandra or Zenyatta, two females who dominated American racing in 2009.
The Horse of the Year announcement will be made at the 39th annual Eclipse Awards dinner at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel in Beverly Hills, Calif. The announcement is expected to take place at approximately 7:15 p.m. PST/10:15 p.m. EST, and will be carried live by both TVG and HRTV. TVG has exclusive rights to televise the entire dinner, which begins at 5 p.m. PST / 8 p.m. EST. Bloodhorse.com will also have extensive coverage of the dinner, including the names and additional information about the winners, as soon as each is announced.
Rachel Alexandra, a 3-year-old filly last year, won all eight of her starts in 2009, including the BlackBerry Preakness Stakes (gr. I). As a 5-year-old in 2009, Zenyatta won all five of her races and remained undefeated in 14 career starts when she became the first female to win the Breeders' Cup Classic (gr. I). They were the only two horses to receive votes in the Horse of the Year category.
Despite all the attention being paid to the Horse of the Year contest, many of the 17 equine and human categories were also close and the winners will not be known until they are announced.
The Eclipse Awards finalists (in alphabetical order) are:
- Horse of the Year: Rachel Alexandra, Zenyatta
- Two-Year-Old Male: Lookin at Lucky, Noble's Promise, Vale of York
- Two-Year-Old Filly: Blind Luck, Hot Dixie Chick, She Be Wild
- Three-Year-Old Male: Mine That Bird, Quality Road, Summer Bird
- Three-Year-Old Filly: Careless Jewel, Flashing, Rachel Alexandra
- Older Male: Einstein (BRZ), Gio Ponti, Kodiak Kowboy
- Older Female: Life Is Sweet, Music Note, Zenyatta
- Male Sprinter: Dancing in Silks, Kodiak Kowboy, Zensational
- Female Sprinter: Informed Decision, Music Note, Ventura
- Male Turf Horse: Conduit, Gio Ponti, Presious Passion
- Female Turf Horse: Goldikova, Midday, Ventura
- Steeplechase Horse: Mixed Up, Red Letter Day, Spy in the Sky
- Owner: Godolphin, Juddmonte Farms, Mr. and Mrs. Jerome Moss
- Breeder: Adena Springs, Juddmonte Farms, Dolphus C. Morrison
- Trainer: Steve Asmussen, Bob Baffert, John Shirreffs
- Jockey: Ramon Dominguez, Garrett Gomez, Julien Leparoux
- Apprentice Jockey: Luis Batista, Christian Santiago Reyes, Luis Saez